Bergkirchweih in Erlangen!

Katie pointed out that it all started out as a church potluck. About 300 years ago. But now it has gotten a bit out of hand. Every year in May, folks from all over Franconia and Bavaria come to Erlangen for the Bergkirchweih (literally translated: “consecration of the mountain church”). The church consecration part is now a bit, well, deemphasized. But there is still a mountain, and on that mountain there is a lot of beer, pretzels, and carnival games.

Being intrepid ambassadors of international understanding, we had to check this out. Max put on his new Lederhosen and Grace and Claire put on their new Dirndls and we all headed to the festival yesterday. The first thing we noticed was that it is huge. We read somewhere that almost a million people descend on Erlangen over the course of two weeks. I think I bumped into each one of them.

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The other thing we noticed was that a whole lot of people were wearing “Tracht” or traditional clothing, especially college students. As we drew closer, we decided that we would have to strategize if we wanted to survive this event: first we would ride a ride, then we would drink a beer and eat a snack, and then we would try to get back home safely before dark.

Grace, Claire, and Dad decided to take a ride on the huge Ferris Wheel to get some perspective. The girls loved it, Claire screamed like crazy, but Dad sort of freaked out.

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After a thorough and extensive decision process, Max decided to try his luck at duck fishing (?). It turned out that Max is a fantastic duck fisherman. He won a bow and arrow (which was broken within 3 minutes of arriving home). He is now trying to figure out how he can use his duck fishing skills for the public good. If you have any ideas, please let us know.

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After the rides and games, Katie and Doug were really ready for a beer. So we looked around for a place to sit. We had read that there were 11,000 seats at thousands of tables situated around the 14 or so breweries that had cellars deep inside the mountain. But by noon we were unable to find a place to sit down! Germans are very serious about drinking beer.

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And so, we had a humungous pretzel and headed home. Even from blocks away, we could still hear hundreds of lederhosen laden men singing drinking songs.

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